Fermented Jalapeños

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If you like your food with a little bit of zing, then you’ll love this easy recipe for fermented jalapeños. Not only are they deliciously spicy, but fermentation also adds beneficial probiotics to the mix.

We love spicy foods in this house.

We have a collection of hot sauces that can rival any grocery store, and we’re always on the lookout for more. I’ve dabbled with many spicy recipes, like sriracha powder, jalapeno salt, sriracha salt, fermented hot sauce, and more.

But this might be my favorite version of pickled jalapenos.

This lacto-fermented jalapeños recipe is dedicated to the lookout.

Fermented jalapenos in jars.

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Tips + Tricks

No. 1 –> While you’ve got the ingredients and the mess out, why not try your hand at fermented hot sauce, FERMENTED GARLIC, or fermented salsa?

No. 2 –> When I talk about burping your ferment, what I mean is to open the lid and allow the carbon dioxide to escape, reducing pressure inside the jar. During the process, the live cultures in the ferment consume the peppers and other ingredients and excrete carbon dioxide which creates pressure on the jar. If left too long, the jar can burst due to pressure.

No. 3 –> Fermentation is a really accessible food preservation method, anyone can do it, with nearly any supplies. I have a section below detailing supplies required and easy substitutions that you’ll likely have around home!

No. 4 –> It is very important to ensure that ALL ingredients remain below the brine at all times during the fermentation time – this is the best way to keep baddies at bay and prevent batch-ruining molds or other unwanted visitors to your ferment.

Slivered jalapenos in a jar.

What Is Lacto-Fermenting?

Lacto-fermentation is a form of food preservation that can be used to extend the shelf life of foods containing carbohydrates. It involves using natural bacteria found on the surface of fruits and vegetables to convert their sugars into lactic acid.

Lactic acid is a naturally occurring preservative that helps to preserve the flavor and texture of foods, as well as eliminate harmful bacteria and increase essential vitamins. Furthermore, the fermentation process produces probiotics, which can help to support a healthy digestive and immune system.

In essence, lacto-fermentation helps us enjoy the benefits of aged foods with minimal effort or specialized equipment. Plus, it’s incredibly simple; all you need to get started is a container with a tight-fitting lid and some salt water to cover your chosen fruit or vegetable!

If you’re looking for an easy way to keep your meals interesting and nutritious throughout the year, then lacto-fermentation could be just what you’re looking for! You may just find that you’ve been missing out on this convenient method of preserving food all along.

Jalapeno rings in salt brine.

Why Ferment Jalapeños

If you like home pickled jalapeños, then you’ll love lacto fermented jalapeños. They’re easier to make (though they do require more ‘ hands-off time) and the flavor is tastier, in my opinion. Fermenting hot chilis enhances the natural flavors, bringing out sweet and savory notes that can go undetected in unaged peppers, and allows them to develop a tangy, spicy, and perfectly sour taste without vinegar.

Not only is fermentation delicious, but it also adds an interesting twist to any dish. By fermenting your own jalapenos, you can customize the flavor according to your preference; for example, adding herbs or spices, like dill or garlic, can add an additional layer of complexity. Plus, the fermentation process adds beneficial probiotics that help aid digestion.

Fermenting jalapenos is a perfect way to enjoy their flavor and store them for future use. This process extends the shelf life of peppers well beyond the lifespan of a pepper stored in the fridge. Whether you had a bumper crop in the garden or caught a smoking good sale at the grocery store, you can easily preserve your chilis for the months to come.

Properly fermented jalapeños will have a unique, tangy taste, and can be incorporated into a wide range of dishes and snacks. We love them as a topping on our smoked burgers, folded into jalapeno cheddar sourdough, topping our nachos, as a pizza topping, chopped and tossed in a salad, and so many other ways.

Key Ingredients

Jalapenos: Use fresh, ripe jalapeño peppers for this recipe. Discard any that have blemishes, bruises, or are otherwise damaged.

Salt: Choose mineral sea salt for the best flavor profile or coarse kosher salt for the most neutral salt flavor.

Water: Spring water or well water works great in fermenting recipes. Avoid chlorinated water wherever possible as chlorine can affect microbial activity. I use straight well water or well water run through my RO system for all my ferments.

Ingredients required for fermented jalapenos.

How To Make Fermented Jalapeños

Prepare Ingredients:

  1. Prepare for fermenting by washing a fermentation vessel, which can be as simple as a mason jar and lid. It does not have to be sanitized or sterilized but should be washed well with hot soapy water. Set aside to dry. Wash fresh ingredients under warm running water.
  2. Slice or dice 1/2 lb of jalapenos as desired. I often make some sliced and some strips.
  3. Pack the sliced jalapenos into washed quart jar or pint jars.

Prepare The Brine:

  1. Combine 4 cups of room temperature water with 2 tablespoons of sea salt. Stir until completely dissolved.
  2. Pour salt brine into the jars, ensuring everything is covered.
  3. Weigh down the ingredients before securing the lid tightly.
  4. Set it aside to ferment.
Pouring brine into a mason jar filled with jalapenos.

Ferment The Peppers:

  1. Keep your ferment somewhere where you’ll see it daily to observe and open the lid and burp it but keep it away from direct sunlight. If you’re using an airlock lid or pickle pipe, you won’t need to burp your fermented peppers.
  2. After a few days, you should start to notice fermenting activity. There will be small bubbles that rush to the top of the jar when you tap it, the jar may hiss slightly when opened, the color of the peppers will dull, the brine will be cloudy, and the brine may leak over the top of the jar and run down the sides.
  3. Allow the peppers to ferment for 4-6 days.

Rest The Peppers:

  1. Just like other pickles, these pickled peppers should be rested for 1-2 weeks in the fridge before eating. This rest period allows the flavors time to mature and mellow out at the same time.

Recipe Notes

Finishing:

These easy fermented jalapenos are delicious as is at the end of the fermentation process but feel free to play around and toss in some garlic, or dill, or whatever fresh herbs and spices you like at the beginning of the process. Make these your favorite jalapenos you’ve ever had according to your taste buds!

Fermenting Time:

The great thing about fermenting anything is that it’s all about personal taste, and there’s no right or wrong answer when it comes to fermentation time. Most people ferment their peppers for 4-6 days, but you can certainly ferment for longer if you want to develop a deeper, more complex flavor.

The key is to experiment and find what works best for your taste buds. If you’re new to fermented food, start with a shorter fermentation time and then taste your peppers each day to see how they’re developing. If you like what you taste, then you can halt the fermentation and enjoy it. But if you want a more sour, tangy flavor, then you can ferment for a little longer next time.

Ultimately, the decision of how long is entirely up to you, so have fun and experiment until you find the perfect flavor profile for your taste buds.

Fermenting Temperature:

The ideal range for fermentation is between 68-75°F.

If the temperature is too low, the fermenting process will take longer and may not be as effective. On the other hand, if the temperature is too high, the fermentation process will occur too quickly and may produce an unpleasant flavor.

Fermenting your chilis at the right temperature will ensure they have a bold, flavorful taste that everyone will love.

Kahm Yeast:

If you notice a white film forming on the surface of your ferment, it’s more than likely kahm yeast – which is generally harmless but tastes terrible.

The presence of kahm yeast will probably affect the outcome of your ferment – though some people say you can scrape it off and continue, I’d advise you to scrap it and start again.

While it may be tempting to try and salvage, it’s generally not worth the risk. Starting over may seem like a pain, but it’s better than ending up with a batch that’s inedible.

Slivered jalapenos in a jar.

Batch + Storage

Batch:

This recipe makes about 2 pint jars or 1 quart jar of lacto-fermented jalapenos. It can easily be doubled or halved depending on your desired outcome.

Storage:

Keep your delicious peppers in the fridge for up to 6 months – if they even last that long!

The microbes in your peppers are still alive and viable, and they’ll continue to create carbon dioxide. If kept at room temperature, you’ll be likely to create a spicy explosion – and not in a good way. Please, please, keep it in the fridge or cold storage for long-term storage.

More Fermenting Recipes To Try

Fermentation Equipment

As previously mentioned, fermentation is very accessible – it doesn’t require any specialized equipment.

Fermentation vessel: This can be any glass jars that have airtight lids. A mason jar, an old pickle jar, an old kombucha bottle. Anything you have around will certainly work! It just needs to be airtight and glass. Non-glass materials can be porous and difficult to clean, and/or harbor bad microbes.

Fermentation weight: While there are specific glass fermentation weights or pickle pebbles, you can use a few different things. A ziplock-style bag half filled with brine placed on top of the ingredients works great. A crumpled piece of parchment paper placed on top of the ingredients also works.

I have AIRLOCK LIDS and PICKLE PIPES as well as GLASS FERMENTATION WEIGHTS here in the Crave kitchen, but I also don’t have enough of them to keep me in the ferments, SO I often end up using other things from around the house and they work just fine!

If you love this recipe, please give it a star rating or leave a comment below! This helps me to create more content you enjoy!

📖 Printable Recipe

Fermented jalapenos in jars.

Fermented Jalapeños

Allyson Letal
Fermented jalapenos are a great way to add some spice to your dishes while also getting the benefits of probiotics. Fermented foods are rich in beneficial bacteria that help promote a healthy body. The fermentation process will take a few days, but the results are worth it! | cravethegood.com
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 20 minutes
Fermentation Time 4 days
Total Time 4 days 20 minutes
Course Preserved
Cuisine American
Servings 32
Calories 2 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 1/2 lb jalapeno peppers
  • 2 tablespoons salt sea salt or kosher
  • 1 quart water

Instructions
 

Prepare Ingredients:

  • Prepare for fermenting by washing a fermentation vessel, which can be as simple as a mason jar and lid. It does not have to be sanitized or sterilized but should be washed well with hot soapy water. Set aside to dry. Wash fresh ingredients under warm running water.
  • Slice or dice 1/2 lb of jalapenos as desired.
  • Pack the sliced jalapenos into washed quart jar or pint jars.

Prepare The Brine:

  • Combine 4 cups of room temperature water with 2 tablespoons of sea salt. Stir until completely dissolved.
  • Pour salt brine into the jars, ensuring everything is covered.
  • Weigh down the ingredients before securing the lid tightly.
  • Set it aside to ferment.

Ferment The Peppers:

  • Keep your ferment somewhere where you'll see it daily to observe and open the lid and burp it but keep it away from direct sunlight. If you're using an airlock lid or pickle pipe, you won't need to burp your fermented peppers.
  • After a few days, you should start to notice fermenting activity. There will be small bubbles that rush to the top of the jar when you tap it, the jar may hiss slightly when opened, the color of the peppers will dull, the brine will be cloudy, and the brine may leak over the top of the jar and run down the sides.
  • Allow the peppers to ferment for 4-6 days.

Rest The Peppers:



  • Just like other pickles, these pickled peppers should be rested for 1-2 weeks in the fridge before eating. This rest period allows the flavors time to mature and mellow out at the same time.

Notes

Flavoring:

These easy fermented jalapenos are delicious as written but feel free to play around and toss in some garlic, dill, or whatever fresh herbs and spices you like at the beginning of the process. Make these the best jalapenos you've ever had according to your taste buds!

Fermenting Time:

The great thing about fermenting anything is that it's all about personal taste, and there's no right or wrong answer when it comes to fermentation time. Most people ferment their peppers for 4-6 days, but you can certainly ferment for longer if you want to develop a deeper, more complex flavor.
The key is to experiment and find what works best for your taste buds. If you're new to fermented food, start with a shorter fermentation time and then taste your peppers each day to see how they're developing. If you like what you taste, then you can halt the fermentation and enjoy it. But if you want a more sour, tangy flavor, then you can ferment for a little longer next time.

Fermenting Temperature:

The ideal range for fermentation is between 68-75°F.
If the temperature is too low, the fermenting process will take longer and may not be as effective. On the other hand, if the temperature is too high, the fermentation process will occur too quickly and may produce an unpleasant flavor.

Kahm Yeast:

If you notice a white film forming on the surface of your ferment, it's more than likely kahm yeast – which is generally harmless but tastes terrible.
The presence of kahm yeast will probably affect the outcome of your ferment – though some people say you can scrape it off and continue, I'd advise you to scrap it and start again.
While it may be tempting to try and salvage, it's generally not worth the risk. Starting over may seem like a pain, but it's better than ending up with a batch that's inedible.

Batch:

This recipe makes about 2 pint jars or 1 quart jar of lacto-fermented jalapenos. It can easily be doubled or halved depending on your desired outcome.

Nutrition

Serving: 1tablespoonCalories: 2kcalCarbohydrates: 0.5gProtein: 0.1gFat: 0.03gSaturated Fat: 0.01gPolyunsaturated Fat: 0.01gMonounsaturated Fat: 0.002gSodium: 438mgPotassium: 18mgFiber: 0.2gSugar: 0.3gVitamin A: 76IUVitamin C: 8mgCalcium: 2mgIron: 0.02mg
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